Friday, December 23, 2005

How does she do it?

Yesterday, my parents came over to watch the kids while I finished up my Christmas shopping and started shopping for two parties we're hosting. It was amazing how quickly my time without the beasties slipped through the hourglass. But I digress. The point of this post was to wonder aloud how my mother was able to do so much in this one day WITH the beasties while I struggled to complete my list without them. After attending LuLu's Parent-and-Me dance, my mom did all of our laundry, baked cookies with Four, played Blokus with Four for over an hour and a half, played Barnyard Bingo with LuLu after her (LuLu's) nap, and made a salad.

This morning while sweeping the floor and ruminating over what to do for these upcoming parties and in what order to do it, I smilingly asked the kids -- as they trapsed through my little crumb piles -- "What's her secret? How does Nonna get so much done during the day?"

With his most impish little smile, Four says, "I can't tell you."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Everyone Loves a Parade!

At the parade!
Last night, we went to our little town's Annual Winter Parade. We tried to meet some of our friends at the local brew pub for dinner beforehand -- well, we did meet them its just that we didn't really get to eat dinner. The place was so packed we ended up ordering food for the kids at the little table where we were waiting for a real table. Normally that would have sucked but we were with friends from the 'hood, there was a 3-piece band playing Christmas songs, and we were waiting for a parade. Its amazing to watch these kids, any kids, at a parade. The way their faces light up and they are awed by the procession. Even the relatively low budget procession that graced our sleepy little streets last night. It seems like one of the last great traditions. A tradition that tenaciously holds the attention and admiration of kids and adults despite a culture of video games, virtual reality, and ever enlarging televisions. There's nothing quite like bundling up and sharing the street with your fellow man.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I Would For You

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!
Four and Dad on the lift!
After a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, the fam spent the night at Chez Nonna and PopPop. Four and I woke up early for the long drive to Hunter Mountain in New York. Every year, in high school and early college, my buddies and I used to go to Hunter Mountain on Black Friday. It was a great tradition. Now that we've all moved on and/or away, it's time to start a new tradition. Not knowing how long Four would last on the slopes, I decided to leave early so we could be there for most of the morning and feel like we got in a good day if he faded during the sometimes crash-prone afternoons. Even though he was so excited to go -- skiing had been my carrot for the week to help remind us of our good behavior -- getting him up as early as we did was pretty comical. M, who was up getting ready for work, pulled the covers down and started talking to him gently and rubbing his back trying to ease him into his day. He sits up with his scrunched up face and 'hrumph' attitude, grabs the covers, and lays back down. After finally getting him up and dressed, we had the best day.

About an hour into the drive, we stopped for gas and coffee. I kept asking him if he wanted anything, juice, snack, etc. He politely declined everything. He only peed because I was going. We later stopped at a McDonalds (his favorite) just off the highway, I asked if he wanted anything. Again, he declines citing his desire to go skiing.

Once we got to Hunter and got our tickets, we only lasted two runs before Four's hands got cold. It was pretty cold that day. As we walked back to the van to get his other gloves and then to the lodge to get lunch, I nervously wondered if we were done for the day. Nonetheless we had a great lunch together, and when he got too shy to continue talking to the lovely Argentinian couple across the table from us, we went back out on the slopes. We had started the day with him in the Racer Chaser vest and a ski tip lock. At different times he would ask to try it without one or both of these aids. The only green run open had some sections that were probably steep enough to not truly be green. In these areas, we would fall often without the vest on. But really, he was doing great. As the day went on and our runs started piling up, he started to seem uncomfortable on the chair. I kept asking if he was cold, if we should call it a day, if we should take a break -- truth be told I was getting uncomfortable snowplowing all day in my nearly 20 year old alpine boots (my tele stuff arrived the Monday after). But he wanted to keep going. Finally, on what turned out to be our last lift ride, I could see him wincing in pain. He finally admitted that his hands were cold. For his last run, he wanted to ski down without his vest and tip lock. He did great. I think he only fell twice that last run and did a get job of checking his speed on the steeper sections. I was so proud of him!

After that last run, we started over to the van and he just melted down. His hand hurt. We turned around and went into the lodge for hot chocolate. His poor hands hurt so badly that he wouldn't use them to hold his hot chocolate. After lots of hugging and holding his hands we got it together enough to make it back to the van. As we got changed into our street clothes, I told him that he really should have told me sooner that his hands hurt, especially when I keep asking him. He replied, "I just wanted to make sure that you had a fun time." You could have knocked me over with a feather. I wanted to cry. I told him that the trip was about him and me having a great experience together and the number of runs that we made or the length of time we spent on the hill wasn't important, that being together was what was important.

We were pulling out of the parking lot at 3:48. Four was asleep by 3:51. As he slept, the words to an old Jane's Addiction song found their way into my head:
And if you wonder
What I would do
I would do
If I could
You know I would
I would
I would
I would for you
I would for you
And again, tears came to my eyes.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Think Snow!

Having been a ski bum for two seasons, saying I love to ski is an understatement. As winter approaches I once again am growing itchy to spend some time on the mountain. Unfortunately, equipment woes have recently plagued me. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the interface between my anatomy and the equipment has plagued me. The last two pairs of ski boots that I have owned end up rubbing my shins raw at the top of the cuff after only a day of skiing, admittedly aggressive skiing, but this shouldn't be happening. One bootfitter suggested there may be an issue with the curvature of my tibia/fibula bones. Its gotten to the point where I was comtemplating not skiing. I am hopeful that my solution will come by way of telemark skiing. Giving the discipline a try last year, even on my two-days-of-alpine-bump-skiing-shin-bang-shin-bite-torn-up shins, there was no pain to speak of. Now, perhaps as I get better at the discipline a whole new crop of problems will spring up, but my friend made the switch for similar reasons. Plus he's such a good skier, I think he was bored with alpine. Anyway, I've become very excited about skiing again and recently took the kids on a minor road trip to try to find some tele gear. Coming home, I decided to try on Four's boots. I was nervous that Santa's unused gift from last year -- I know, I know -- would have to wait another year or more until LuLu could use them. Fortunately, they seem to still fit. Well enough that even after clicking into his skis and tooling around in the basement (on the rug only) and trying to do helicopters, Four was lounging around in the boots for quite some time. He is anxious to ski this season, asking, "When can we go?" and "When will it snow?" Last night, he insisted that I read him a book about snow. I am so looking forward to taking him skiing this season. Think snow.


LuLu has been obsessed lately with "boo-lay" or ballet. I have been taking her to a Parent and Me Dance class at our gym. At first she didn't want to go because it wasn't ballet. Finally, I convinced her to give it a try saying that while it wasn't all ballet, they may do some ballet. Last night at dinner M asked her what she had done at dance class that day. Struggling ever so slightly at the end, LuLu replies, "I did a arabest." I had been struggling for most of the day to remember the word, "No, it not pique. Not sashay. Arrgh! What is it?", and while it had come back to me in the pool after class and I helped remember the arabesque, I could not command the word to my mind when M started the conversation. Even in class the teacher only had three or four of the older girls -- the class only goes up to 36 months -- do the pose at the very end of last day of the session, so LuLu only heard the word four or five times. But I guess it made an impression.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween
Happy Halloween from Zorro and our resident Flower! This year we made the kids costumes. I spent the Friday night and Saturday before Halloween in front of the sewing machine. I sewed Zorro's cape and belt and the flower's dress all without a pattern. So a few things got a little frustrating and several seams needed to be ripped out and re-sewn. But in the end the effort was worth it. We also made LuLu's flower collars, which was no-sew, but time consuming nonetheless. The kids had a great Halloween season, attending our town parade, a neighborhood party, a party and parade at school, and a pre-Trick-r-Treat parade -- now we just have to ration all that candy!

Happy Birthday Four!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Four recently turned five. In an e-mail sharing pictures with family I wrote the following:
We just got home from [Four's] birthday celebration at school. He was beaming the whole time. On the one hand, he was/is so grown-up (most of the time) that I can't believe he's only five. On the other hand, it seems like he was born just only yesterday, and I can't believe five years has flown by.

I've been wrestling with whether to continue refer to the boy as Four or to change his moniker to Five due to the age change. In the end, I've decided to continue with Four as it's often how I refer to him in my head when not blogging.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

So much to update!

So little time.

About a month ago, the kids went to M's parents for the night. I had packed their bag with pajamas, two changes of clothes each, a teddy bear, a stuffed puppy, a baby doll, toothbrushes, etc. When unpacking the bag, my mother-in-law was apparently impressed with the neatness with which the laundry was folded. She asked Four (who just recently turned five) if his Dad does the laundry. He replied in the affirmative. She said something to the effect of, "He's very good at it." Four responded, "He doesn't think so." It's amazing how perceptive kids are so early.

There was another story from that trip that has had me riding high for a while now. While I don't remember the details of the conversation, essentially, Four ended up telling my mother-in-law that I was "the best dad in the whole world."

Yesterday, I was getting dressed to go to the gym. With both beasties in school M and F mornings, I take the opportunity to sneak in a workout. I had just taken off my boxers and was putting on an athletic supporter for some work on the treadmill, when Four walks in and observes what I'm doing. In his best mocking voice, he says "You're wearing girls underwear!" So if the boy starts cross-dressing, I will always think back to this moment.

LuLu has been almost obsessed with getting a blue baby like her friend Maggie's blue baby for Christmas. The problem is, she is very frightened of sitting on Santa's lap. She remembers our efforts last year to get a picture with Santa and talks very frankly about how much she cried and cried. Last night, she asked Four, "Will you sit on Santa's lap and ask him for a blue baby for me like Maggie's blue baby?"
Four responded, "I will....for you."
It was too cute.

That's all I can remember for now and I can't find the list of things that I'd written down. But I am going to work to be more regular in my updates.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm Back!

I'm back, and while I'd like to say better than ever, for now I'll just be satisfied with being back. I cannot believe it's been a month since my last post. This is my longest period of blog slack ever, I qualify it as blog slack since I've been busy in other ways, or at least my mind has been telling me we're busy. It had been so long, my mother-in-law sent me a note that she was having trouble accessing any new posts and was wondering it there was something she was doing wrong. I sheepishly sent her the following:
Actually you're not doing anything wrong, I've just been slacking lately.
I'll try to update it soon. I've got a bunch of stories, just can't seem to
coordinate the time and energy. When I have the time I don't have the
energy, and when I have the energy I usually don't have the time. Funny how
that works out, huh? Soon though, I promise.

Since I'm proclaiming to be back, I will end with a little story. The other nite, M was called back to LuLu's room. The following conversation ensued:
LuLu: There aren't monsters inside, right?
M: Right.
LuLu: There aren't any monsters inside, because the monsters are all outside.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina, Bush, and Money

I have been watching the Katrina coverage on the news in complete disbelief. My heart pours out to those people who find themselves trapped there because they had no other choice. The folks who stayed out of hubris, that's a different story, but I pray for them nonetheless. The video footage is heart wrenching, especially the babies, young children, and the elderly. What is particularly disturbing though are the reports from the city that no information is being disseminated to the survivors, that there is no available food or water, and that looters and thugs are running rampant through the city. For a country that engineered a war halfway around the world with surgical precision to the tune of $191,480,000,000, to not be able to better prepared for and coordinate a response to this natural disaster is inhumane and embarrasing. In this day and age, this seems inexcusable.

I mean who came up with this plan? New Orleans' levees were built to withstand a Cat 3 hurricane, and here comes a Cat 4, so lets get everyone to the Superdome, but let's not stockpile food and water there. And if the government officials from the Mayor of New Orleans all the way up to the President knew that this storm was going to be dangerous enough to order evacuations on Sunday (and perhaps earlier) why does it seem like they are still fumbling around for an effective plan to save the storm's survivor's? When Mr. Bush assures the American public that New Orleans will rebuild and will emerge from this stronger, please forgive me if I don't get the warm and fuzzies. Those comments bring to mind the words "Mission Accomplished."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Big Bang!

I am certain my head is going to explode. It's not just the sinus pressure from my cold -- but darn it why can't I encourage the stuff to drain as well as my chiropractor did? The impending mess is most likely the result of my increasingly indescribable relationship with my neighborhood and the Board elected to 'serve' the community. Because of the sinus pressure in my head and the exhaustion I'm feeling I'm not sure I can even right about it now. I'll try later. What was that line from Margaret Meade, hold on... time for a Google...ctrl-n...ahh, there it is:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; Indeed it's the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Meade

Alas, if the Board won't help us, we'll do it on our own. Eff'em. Oops! Did I really just say that?

Saturday, August 20, 2005


This morning, I found Four sitting at the computer trying to sound out our address and type the letters into the address window of our email client -- which in itself is pretty impressive for a not quite five year old. When I came over to help him with the task, he asked me to type a message for him. The note he dictated to me follows:

Dear Evil Presidents,

Please do not set off any more bombs. Thank you,


P.S. When you get this message please send us a message letting us know if you got rid of all your bombs or not.

If only it were that simple. I should clarify that he is not necessarily referring to any president in particular, but rather those leaders that knowingly cause harm to innocent people. Four has been very concerned about bad guys and bombs lately. I guess it's no wonder with all the news coverage of worldwide violence. We try to minimize their exposure, but it seems a losing battle. It's amazing to me that we can't all get along, that people are killing each other in the name of their religion.

Monday, August 15, 2005

with the good, comes the bad

I suppose the universe is always seeking to maintain some average vibe between euphoria and misery. Today, has been the day to provide some balance to some of my better days as an at-home dad. Four has just been a handful. Pestering his sister. Pestering me. Just pestering. For her part, LuLu has been whining. All day. To be fair, she didn't sleep well last night and is undoubtedly tired, but that doesn't make it any easier on the ears. After lunch, I decided to be bold and run some errands despite the behavior and demeanor of my pint-sized companions. It seems that the grocery store is where it always hits the fan. Today was no different. It was actually embarrassing. The two beasties were climbing in, out, and on the cart. Fighting over who sat where. Over whose seatbelt was whose. I wanted to crawl under a bag of flour. Unfortunately, we weren't at the bulk foods store. To top it all off, and this is noone's fault but my own, when I got to the checkout and the clerk had rung up my entire order, only then did I realize that I did not have my credit card or debit card. I have been taking them on my bike rides along with my driver's license in case of emergency. They never made it back into my wallet. As I'm trying to tell the clerk this story of my flakiness LuLu starts crying hysterically. Like someone's hurting her hysterically. I'm trying to maintain some semblance of calm and serenity, but inside I am certain that my head will explode.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"You got it pretty good"

The other day, while LuLu napped, Four and I rode bikes out in the front and side yard and driveway. Four on his 16-inch bike and I on my 20-inch BMX bike. Mini-me and I must have looked even more alike than usual. Both of us ended up riding with helmets and gloves, and without shirts. We got out the soccer cones and wood boards, and made obstacle courses, 'cafeterias', and traps (a child's imagination never ceases to amaze). I was so happy to be riding with my son. Cycling has been a huge part of my life over the years, and for us to be having some much fun on the bikes together was incredible. We told M about our adventures over dinner, to which she responded, "You got it pretty good."

I agreed, "You're right. I think we've all got it pretty good." Being home has been such a joy (and challenge), but I can't think of missing some of these great memories that we've had together.



Watching my son 'soar' off the edge of the pool was another one of those moments that just made my heart soar. Four loves the water and had thrived at the swim lessons at the local University (more about being water safe than actual swimming), but had always had a bit of trepidation about going under and getting his face wet. Yesterday at our friends' sister's pool, Four took the step, or should I say jump. Watching his friends jump and swim without floats you could see the gears turning, "I think I can do that!" And he did! By the end of our session, Four was jumping off the edge in the deep end -- supervised, of course -- and swimming to the opposite edge, and diving for submerged objects. It is such a joy to watch this progression.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Still More Shore Pics!

Great fun at Ocean City!

These are from the night we went to Ocean City. What a great time! The kids were so excited. The weather, while pouring earlier in the evening, cleared beautifully. I think it actually helped by keeping some of the crowds away. Enjoy the photos!

French Stew

This morning we all woke up in a good mood. Four and LuLu came into our bed and lounged, cuddled, tickled, and asked to be tickled. After M got out of the shower, I made a comment about how incredibly hungry I was -- rode 45 miles last night, 26 of them at an average speed of 26.7 mph, and had NO ice cream (my one true love besides my wife) before going to bed. Anyway, I didn't think much of it, but shortly after the munchkins dissappeared. As I walked down the hall to find out what trouble they had found, I couldn't hear exactly what they were saying, but there was defiinitely a spirit of cooperation. I could hear LuLu saying, "Allright." and "OK." I summoned M to see and hear. We tried to observe stealthily, but were busted.

"Mom, Dad, I made French Stew!" proclaimed Four. They had just about every mixing utensil out -- wooden spoons, wire whisks, BBQ brushes, etc. -- and were using them to stir together in a pot cantaloupe chunks, peach slices, and raspberry yogurt retrieved from the refrigerator. I was very impressed with their selections and how well they went together. I went to take a taste. First bite, delicious. As I'm putting the second bite in my mouth, Four starts reciting the ingredients. "Cantaloupe, peaches,..." I bite into something with a more dense consistency. "...yogurt,..." I'm thinking maybe cheese? "...and BUTTER!" I had to find a napkin.

A while back fellow blogger Philip over at The Blue Sloth, wrote a post that began with the question, "What makes your heart soar?" I think of this question often. Usually when the moment I'm in makes my eyes well up with pride, love, and admiration. This was one of those moments. Other recent moments have included watching Four thrive in his swim lessons that make most children cry, watching Four smile from ear to ear at soccer camp, watching LuLu gently push an infant buoyed in a inflatable swim boat around in a pool.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

More Shore Pics

LuLu, Four, Nick, James

Still working to get all my recent photos up. These are from our recent trip to the shore. Our good friends, Nick and James, came to visit. After a day on the beach -- with no pictures :^( we did get some at mini golf. Also the boys found another use for LuLu's swim diapers -- space ranger helmets.

Fashion Police

Yesterday, I was doing laundry in the basement with both kid-o's when M came down to say good-bye before going to work. She was not wearing her typical suit or slacks and a blouse. It had been forecast to be dangerously hot here in the Northeast, and even our typically cool basement was feeling a bit heavy, so M had opted for something lighter. A lightweight, long and colorful skirt with a lightweight nearly sheer top. Not a trashy outfit by any stretch, in fact it looked great when we went out with friends last weekend, but definitely not the corporate power attire we're used to seeing Mommy wear during the week. LuLu comes up and asks, "Where you going? Where are you work clothes?" With that, M went back upstairs and changed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Paying Compliments

The other day Four was getting a hair cut at the local Hair Cuttery or Holiday or whatever it was, and the not unattractive young woman who was cutting his hair was talking to him and asking all kinds of questions to keep his mind off the electric hair trimmer tickling the back of his neck with what he must think is all the subtlety of a chainsaw. She asked a question about his sister. He replied, "Her name is [LuLu], she's sweet." I almost died of pride.

Speaking of compliments, a few days earlier our neighborhood playgroup had gone to an indoor playground/climbing/gaming facility to escape the oppressive heat and humidity. After playing, three of the parents decided to go out for lunch. Between the three of us, we had nine kids in tow. One mom has three and watches a fourth, the other mom has two, and I had my two plus another girl from the hood. We pushed two tables together to create one big kids table. While we felt, especially early on, that all we were doing was running around getting food, getting drinks, cleaning up little spills, getting napkins, etc., the kids were all REALLY well behaved. As we were getting ready to leave, a woman from another table came over to tell us essentially the same thing. It was very reassuring. Then, of course, her curiosity couldn't keep her from asking about our 'situation'. One of the moms responded that we were Mormon and that they were both with me. We all had a good laugh and my head grew to twice its size.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Great Photos at the Lake

Just wanted to share these great pictures I got down at our neighborhood lake the night before we left for the shore.

Shore Pics

Fun at the Shore: Four, Uncle Scott, Sara, LuLu

We were at the beach June 16-25. My brother Scott and his girlfriend joined us for a day and a half. Which was awesome. We don't get to see Uncle Scotty much as he is now living in San Fran, and not getting home much. He and his girlfriend got down in the sand and helped us build a huge but not overly designed castle. Scott made a comment to the effect of how it stinks to go to the beach without kids because it looks silly for a 27 year old man to be digging in the sand by himself.

The weather was great, a little windy and sometimes cool, but still very nice. The kids had a great time. It was all we could do to get Four to stay at our little camp. He would make friends with other kids and then migrate over to their families' seats. As much as we wanted him nearby, it's always nice to see kids playing nicely together and making new friends. Enough typing, here are the pics.

back on track?

I am trying to get back on track. Trying to streamline my life, and pare it down to those things that are most important to me and my family. I still struggle with exactly what those things are. There are, of course, the obvious ones; spending more time with family and friends, working to be a better dad, husband, brother, friend, etc., and taking better care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's the details of these where I get lost and pulled almost in random walk fashion from one thing to the next. I know that I need to do the laundry and make the dinner and all that, but does the 2-3 hour bike ride on Saturday morning, or for that matter on Tuesday evening, do more harm than good? I know that physical exercise is good for me both physically and mentally, but often times there is accompanying guilt. Is that time that could be better spent with the family? Is that time that could be better spent finishing projects around the house? I don't know. Anyway, I am going to continue to explore these life balance issues.

I also know that I need to get more scheduled. Those times where we have scheduled events; school, swim lessons, camp, etc. we (read I) do much better with getting things done. With little scheduled, we fall into a rut of wasting time.

Enough about me, suffice to say that I am a project in process.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Finding Time?

While I started this blog to capture and share (mostly with family and friends) what the munchkins are doing, I must admit I have taken some level of pride in the traffic that this little corner of the blogosphere has been generating. Lately however, call it summer, we have been ridiculously busy and thoroughly enjoying. The downside is that I haven't been able to blog quite as much as I'd like and some of those little vignettes of adorable-ness are fading in my overstressed brain. Stay tuned for attempts to recall those moments, as well as for fotos of some of our recent adventures.

Be well!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Hope yours is safe and healthy. I think it important on a day like today to give a special thanks to all the servicemen and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom. Thanks are also in order for those currently protecting our great nation. Your service and dedication are most appreciated!

P.S. If anyone can tell me why this post is pushing the rest of the page down, I would greatly appreciate it. Problem solved, or at least worked around.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


two great quotes i stumbled across today:

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic." ~Dave Barry

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." ~Mark Twain

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Jesus in my heart

This morning, we were eating Kashi's Heart to Heart cereal. The kids like the little heart shapes and I like that it claims to be good for your heart, especially since there are some heart issues in my family history. I had a murmur at birth, that mostly went away, but I guess is persistent enough that I take the antibiotics before dental procedures. LuLu just had her second echocardiogram in her just over two years; she had a hole in her septum at birth, which until recently with though was a closed issue both literally and figuratively. Anyway, as she was shoveling handfuls of the self proclaimed heart healthy cereal into her mouth. I said something about it being good for her 'ticker'. This drew enormous laughs from both kids. After riding this wave of laughter for about all it was worth, we started talking about what a ticker really is and where it's located.
Me: Do you know where your heart is?
Lu: Jeese [which means Jesus] in my heart

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


and I'm just finishing my chores for the day. Just finished washing the dinner dishes and folding my first load of laundry, and since there's more in the washer and dryer, I guess I'm technically not done. Anyway, I am still alive and kicking. Things have just been busy, and unfortunately (some might say fortunately) blogging has dropped off the top of the priority list. Lately, I have really been enjoying time with the kids. Not that I didn't previously, but lately it just seems a little extra special. Four has been great, behavior pretty well under control. Sure, I still have to raise my voice once in a while, but he's a great kid. LuLu, who's actually been two for several months is starting to flirt with the terrible two's. She's still a really good girl, but is starting to experiment with finding what she can and cannot get with.

Four who is really getting close to reading and is figuring out letters and the sounds they make, has been working very hard on saying his name correctly. People used to not understand what he was saying, I think because he had trouble pronouncing the first sound. While its not actually "Four", he now says his name like "Ph--oar".

LuLu and cousin at Jersey Shore
We spent Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore. LuLu and Four had a great time with their cousin. Enjoy the pics!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

Ok, ok, I'm a little late. I am still a guy.

On Friday, Four's pre-school put on a Mother's Day presentation. M tells me it was really neat, and from the pics I can only assume that it was super adorable. She came home from work and picked him up for the 12:30 production. On the short drive to school, Four admitted that he was "feeling a little nervous. Sometimes I get nervous when I have to get up in front of people." Apparently, he got over it pretty quickly.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

On Saturday, my parents watched the cherubs while M and I attended a 50th wedding anniversary party for M's aunt and uncle. Before bed, we all had a dip in the hot tub. The kids love it, and truth be told, I am learning to enjoy relaxing myself.
Hot tub with Nonna

Oh, and that other thing. The back to work thing. Still wrestling with that decision. I had to push back a possible meeting with my former colleague and mentor, as I had a Board meeting for our little trailer park tonight. So now, we're aiming to get together next Monday. It's one of those things where I just like this guy and hope we can be friends regardless, I hope he's not banking too much on my returning to work. I'm curious to hear what they have to say, but my heart's not really in it right now. Right now, my heart's in raising these two little beings as best I can (while maintaining some semblance of sanity and self).

Speaking of which, I solo'ed the other day. It was actually the same day we left for Western PA, but life has been such a whirlwind and this blog IS mostly for and about the kids that I haven't put it out there til now. I keep asking M, "Did I tell you I flew an airplane all by myself?" I think it's starting to bug her a little. But the flying experience was incredible. I'll write more about that later.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fun together

Something in that there water!

Summer teeth

Travelled this weekend to Western PA to attend a dual gender baby shower(the owner of our B&B innocently referred to it as a "bisexual shower"). One of our neighbors who grew up near Dayton, OH calls the part of the country "Pennsyltucky". It is, politely, a very rural area, and the teeth were one of the self-deprecating gag gifs in the pinata. It's a beautiful area though, and in close proximity to some of the finest whitewater paddling in the world. I wasn't able to paddle this trip, which is probably a good thing since I've become a tad rusty post-kids.

John and Kara, the expectant parents, are awesome people. They have built this whitewater clothing business, from a garage business essentially making board shorts with a grommet into an incredible thought leader and innovator in the kayaking industry. Not knowing how is not a viable excuse for these to not do something, they just figure it out. About a year ago I was on the phone with John and LuLu had made a mess in her diaper which was spilling out the top. I told the situation and that I had to go, he responded with something to the effect, "You're scaring me." But, in reality, I'm sure he'll be fine with fatherhood.

This recent visit has caused even more introspection than my potential return to work offer. More on that later. Enjoy the pics.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Maybe I Will Stay Put...

My local news station just ran a story about a poll which attempted to calculate the salary a stay-at-home mom should earn. Based on a 40 hour workweek and 60 hours of OT, the figure came out to a whopping $131, 471 annually. And since men traditionally earn more than women...

Now if I could just find someone to take up the charge for stay-at-home parents everywhere. It actually might not be that hard, I mean, if Congress is getting involved with steroid use in MLB, surely they can find the time to take up a truly important cause. Right?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Back to Work?

I've been keeping in touch with a co-worker from my former life as an engineer with a medical diagnostics device manufacturer. We email each other from time to time and, less frequently, get together for a beer and a bite to eat. It had been a while since we had seen each other and I sent an email suggesting a get-together. Part of his reponse follows:

I hope all is well with you. Are you still at home with the kids? Any chance we could get you to consider coming back to work with us? Your name came up again just last week. [Engineering staffing manager] asked me if you were interested in coming back.

Lets try and get together for a drink soon. How about on Monday May 9th?
On some levels, I am definitely interested in a return to paid work. It would certainly help with some of our financial pressures, goals, and desires. Further, there are days where I struggle with whether or not I am doing such a great job as a stay-at-home parent.

On the flip side, I am not very excited about the prospect of finding alternative care for the beasties. While it would not be easy on me and M, I am sure that LuLu would be fine with a nanny or au pair or even a high-quality daycare. It is Four that I would be concerned about. We still wonder about the possibility of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis (we have an evaluation process scheduled for 3-days in June with a highly recommended behavioral pediatrician), and feel pretty strongly that it will take (and does currently take) someone special to help him thrive. '

Another potential pitfall to returning to paid work is the net cash flow. A google led me a article "Should You Go Back to Work?" with an accompanying worksheet to calculate the additional net cash flow created by a return to work. Unfortunately, after taxes, childcare, commuting costs, etc., the net ain't nearly what I would have hoped for.

There's also a part of me that would regret all the things I haven't done that I had hoped to do as a stay-at-home parent. When I first started this job, I was going to turn the world on its ear. Not only was I going to be a great SAHD, but I was also going to create businesses, write children's books, and generate income without being dependent on corporate culture. To date, I have done OK -- could always do better -- on the SAHD part, but I've not even truly made an effort on the other fronts. On some level, I feel a return to work at this time would signal a surrender of these goals. But, as M points out, a return to work and writing children's books are not mutually exclusive.

I am torn right now about what to do. I guess it wouldn't hurt to hear what they are offering?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I'm Just Happy!

Yesterday, we were all out shopping for a new patio set. After 3 years of successfully convincing my wife that we just couldn't afford it, I could no longer hold back the impending tide. And besides, the kids and I had just eaten out on the patio on a folding card table the last night of M's trip, and I must admit, it was pretty cool. So, after a long morning of trapsing through outdoor furniture stores, and frankly, an hour and a half past noon, we realized we better start thinking about lunch. Driving past a Mickey D's, Four chimes in, "I have a great idea."
Me: "I know where this is going."
Four: "How do you know?"
Me: "Just a hunch. How about instead of McDonald's, we go to Friendly's?"
Four is crushed. But I just can't justify going to McDonald's, and figure Friendly's has to have a few more wholesome choices. Making the necessary U-turns to get there, we are treated to Four crying and declaring how much we doesn't like me and that he WON'T go in. LuLu finally adds her two cents, "It's fine, Dad. I'm just happy!" Where does she get this? She's only two.

Another sidenote: Friendly's didn't seem that much more nutritionally Friendly than McDonald's, at least not for kids -- and was quite a bit more expensive. Given Four's allergy to eggs, he ended up with a relatively safe grilled cheese and more fries than this thirty-something should be eating. An additional downer was that the silver lining of an ice cream reward in going to Friendly's was diminished by the fact that all of their ice cream flavors contain eggs. Fortunately, the soft serve did not contain eggs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Walk in the Rain with Shelley

reminder to self to write about Four's book selection last night. later.

[update 4/24/2005] Four and I had been butting heads ever since his return from school this day. He certainly had his good moments, but there were times when he was just bouncing off the walls. M came home and the situation almost intensified, understandably. Both kids were so excited to her. LuLu tripped over some toys running out to see her, and Four, who had just gotten out of the tub and was getting lotion for his eczema, tried to run out naked. I made him at least put some underpants on. But when it was finally time to go to bed, and after much protesting and quarreling, Four finally picked out his two books: Shelley, the Hyperactive Turtle and A Walk in the Rain with a Brain. Brain is a neat book that emphasizes the value of everyone's brain and its celebrates the differences in people's skills and interests. It seems as if this book is linked to the ADD/ADHD literature in many circles, but I believe it's a valuable book for all of us. Shelley is a book about a little turle who displays all the trademark characteristics of ADD/ADHD and undergoes a process to help mitigate some of the negative behaviors associated with the diagnosis. [A side note about Shelley: there are definitely some valuable messages in this book, but some of the language seems to me overly negative and stigmatizing. Additionally, the book makes reference textually and graphically to medication, which may or may not be an option for some families -- we are certainly hoping to avoid it, if at all possible.]His selection of these books, after a day of trying behavior, was, to me, his version of an olive branch. I felt he was saying, "Dad, I know my behavior today was not the best, and for that I am sorry. Maybe this is why."


  The other night we went for walk after dinner. As we were walking, Four gently grabs a yellow flower covered, wispy branch of a neighbor's shubbery which is flirting with the sidewalk and those who pass. Just as I'm about to admonish him to not pull the flowers off (patience, Kevin), he innocently asks, "Do you know what this is, Dad?"
  I reply, testing him -- or so I thought, "What do you think it is?"
  I could see the gears turning in that little noggin, and he says as determined and carefully as he can, "A" Good thing, too! While as soon as he said it I knew he was right, I was about to tell him if he didn't know that I thought it was a Clematis! Still working on my green thumb.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hands On House

Hands On House

Finally getting around to posting pics from a spring break field trip to Hands On House in Lancaster, PA. Enjoy!

Cello Mommy!

M left yesterday for the Annual NAB Conference. When the phone rang this morning and I saw on the caller ID that it was her cell phone, I let LuLu answer the phone. "Cello Mommy!" Later in the call, she got the phone back from Four and said "Hello Mommy!" I joked with M that it's as if LuLu is building her own dialect or culture where the initial greeting is different from subsequent niceties.

I couldn't tell if M asked first how the weather was here, but Four asked how the weather was in "Lasa Vegas". He was floored that it was still dark. Funny how we just take that concept for granted. Before M's departure, he had wondered what color plane she would be flying, and sure enough, he remembered to ask her once he got her on the phone. It was silver.

M returns Wednesday, and I am optimistic that, while we will miss her deeply, we will have a great time. If you're reading, M, we love you!

Friday, April 08, 2005


LuLu just said, as she grabbed onto my leg, "You're my best daddy, dad."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why'd I say that?

I like to play devil's advocate, or is it that i like to argue? sometimes in a discussion, i'll take a position opposite of the one i really hold just so i can debate someone. i found myself doing this the other night. i let the other party (my mom) know that i was doing it, stating that, "i'm just playing devil's advocate, mostly because it's about the only thing i'm good at." well, turns out i'm good at saying really stupid shit too. my mom, who's becoming quite the movie buff, was telling us about a film they'd seen "The Story of the Weeping Camel". The story goes like this: camel has difficult labor giving birth to rare all-white colt, mother rejects colt, mongolian tribe summons musician, musician plays violin as part of ancient ritual, camel accepts offspring. After hearing the story, in a lame attempt to be funny, I say, "I should get a violin, so my mother will accept me." For a few seconds, there was an awkward silence. My brother, who actually is funny, said, "You'll have to take that one to your therapist." Later, I spoke with my mom privately and apologized for the stupid comment. I still feel horrible about it. This is a woman to whom I feel so close, only my wife is closer. This is a woman who has accepted me and all my baggage, when I didn't accept me and my baggage. Thanks for everything, I love you, Mom!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Crazy Busy Again!

Things have been crazy around here again. Since I'm too tired right now to write the kind of stuff I want to bring some loose ends raised here previously up to date I am just going to post some pics with little comment. The kids are awesome. M is awesome. I'm a bit down, but I'll get through it.

Tub Time
LuLu tub

All Dressed Up

...and someplace to go. This outfit was a bday present from Aunt Jess. Thanks, Jess!

Waking Up
Waking Up Together
Four now likes to be the first one in to LuLu's room in the morning. After greetings and kisses, he likes to invite her to sit on his lap so that he can read to her. She seldom takes him up on it, which usually crushes him -- for at least 30 seconds. But this morning they did sit together and it just made my heart swell.

Four's creation
Four with Duplos
He was so proud of this spaceship. He is getting really creative with Legos (actually Duplos) -- building spaceships and animals and beyond. It's so neat to see how his abilities progress. Which reminds me, tonight on the way home from dinner we were talking about what the Easter Bunny brought the kids last year. M and I both knew what he had brought for Four, but could not remember what he had given LuLu. Four remembered. He was only three, amazing.

Herding Cats
Drill Sargeant
I signed up to be an "Assistant Coach" for Four's indoor soccer league. No one signed up to be The Coach, and no one else signed up as an Assistant. Guess who's coaching? If it was all strangers, it'd be fine. But there are a few kids from the hood on the team, so I feel particularly self-conscious about how and what I'm doing. I was petrified at first, but it's been really fun. I am so happy to be able to have this experience and this opportunity to show these kids how fun exercise and sport can be. And I think I'm pretty good. The foto above is a little blurry, but artistically I like the effect, and the laughter and energy shines right through.


Even Superheroes Get Tired!

Batman sleep

Sunday, March 13, 2005

i do it for the money...

i am the president of the civic association in our little trailer park. well, it's not exactly a trailer park. and i don't really do it for the money. in fact i don't get paid at all. in fact, one might say i'm freaking crazy to put up with some of the shit that i put up with for nothing. but it's an awesome neighborhood, with an incredible sense of community, and a really beautiful lake. but right about now i'm about to pick up our little trailer and move it on out of the hood. dealing with a potential subdivision that may puncture through our "impenetrable" borders, i have spent far too much time thinking, writing, and ruminating on how to make 120+ dues paying members happy with the decision. it's a thankless job, and i had to field a number of phone calls today from neighbors who were very upset. were it not for the encouragement and ability to make me laugh from a couple of neighbors/friends, i'm sure i would quit this 'well-compensated' position.

speaking of money, do you believe in penalizing success? just an interesting thought that hit me today. write a comment if you're so inclined. maybe one day -- if i live through this neighborhood issue -- i'll figure out how to create a poll.

be well. live well.

Friday, March 04, 2005

M says mmmm

Tonight at dinner, LuLu was looking down at the t-shirt she was wearing - an Old Navy valentine's tee with the word "sweet" across the chest and a large heart over her belly. From where she was sitting though the 'w' must have looked - and did - like an 'm'. She starts reciting from her Leapfrog fridge alphabet, "m says mmmm, every letter makes a sound, m says mmmm." It's neat to get these little glimpses into their brains to see how they're growing.


you may have noticed that LuLu had essentially the same Bday cake as Four had. I will not argue that I can be a cheap bastard, but I'm not that cheap. In fact, I was willing to actually buy a cutesy bakery cake for LuLu's second, but when we started discussing it in the presence of Four he became very upset. He's allergic to eggs. And good luck finding a commercial bakery cake without eggs. So we decided that we'd go with our typical egg-free recipe and either decorate a regular round or even buy another cake form. So we asked LuLu what kind of cake she wanted.
Of course Four chimes in before Lu can answer, "I know, a tractor cake!"
I respond, "Let's see what Lu wants. LuLu, what kind of cake do you want?"
Lu: "A tractor cake."
Me: "Are you sure?"
Lu: "Yes."

And even though I am trying to break some gender stereotypes, if was going to make a tractor cake for my little girl, I had to ask her if I could at least make it pink.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Time it Flew, LuLu's Two!

our angel recently turned two...
LuLu's Two
more to follow.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

not enough time... do it all. but what to cut out?

anyway, I've got the Today show on this morning while cleaning up from breakfast, and they run this teaser about their upcoming show/promo ‘Today's Biggest, Littlest Jennifer Lopez fan'. Essentially, you send in a short video of your child singing a JLo song and an explanation of why the child should win this contest. Maybe I'm a little old fashioned, but the videos they showed as, I guess, examples of what you might send in were pretty suggestive for pre-teen girls. Don't our children grow up fast enough that we don't need a major media outlet encouraging parents to further speed up the process?

Since I'm moaning. While watching one of the shows on PBS several weeks ago, I made a mental note that one of the underwriter's was JIF, who quips in the their little ad that their peanut butter is for "moms and dads" who care about what their kids eat. Going to their website to try to get the exact wording [don't want to be inaccurate, Barry!], I noticed that the site has a "Mom advisor" and still brag that "Choosy moms choose Jif". Well, this choosy dad still chooses Crazy Richard's.

On the upside, the Today Show also did a piece on men who knit. It might not seem so significant, but every little bit to break down all the old gender stereotypes helps.

I am still working on my little project of self-improvement. Progress seems painfully slow, though.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Great Quotes

I am continually finding great quotes in my wanderings around cyberspace. Usually, the location and quote end up getting lost somewhere in the nether reaches of my grey matter. I am hoping to start some way of tracking them, until then I will subject you to them:
A Man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. --Robert Heinlein
found on blue sloth, this became an instant favorite.

Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. - from Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
found on

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I'm in Denver, I'm in my PJ's

Dave at VailThis past weekend I flew out to Denver to visit with an old friend that I hadn't seen in far too long -- almost nine years. Although he only moved to our area half way through our junior year of high school, we quickly became best of friends and were almost inseparable during high school. College came and we went our separate ways. My early departure from college led me to spend a couple of seasons in Colorado, essentially as a ski bum. Dave came out just before I got serious about life and my relationship with my now wife. Dave has been in Colorado ever since, spending nine seasons in Summit County living to ski and ride bikes, and now finishing up a graduate degree in Denver. Prior to this visit, the last time we got together was at my wedding.

Dave's DigsDave had told me (warned me) that he had an old college buddy living with him who was having some trouble getting through substance abuse and other issues. In addition to interacting with this 'interesting' character, I was fortunate enough to see what must have been a deal gone bad. As Dave and I walked his dog over to his girlfriend's place to get a coffee maker, we saw an SUV racing after an individual on foot. We both kind of ducked behind some parked cars after the vehicle lost the pedestrian and drove around looking for them. We saw that vehicle circling around several times later, and I started to think that I might not make my flight home the next day. Staying with my old buddy certainly saved me a few bucks, but I probably slept less on this trip than any other four night period in my life. I think next time, I'll buck up and spring for both my friend and I to stay elsewhere. But, as I told one of the moms in my playgroup today about some of these stories, we agreed that sometimes experiences like that make you think "my life ain't so bad." And really, it ain't.

Me at VailNow don't get me wrong. I had a great trip. It was great to see an old friend. And while Dave reported to the people who dialed his cell phone every 10 minutes -- his phone was ALWAYS ringing -- that the conditions were mediocre, I thought the skiing was great. Dave's frame of reference is that of someone who until very recently was skiing over 100 days per season and who could pick and choose which days to go on large mountains capable of moving lots and lots of people up the high. My frame of reference lately is bulletproof ice at overcrowded Shawnee mountain in the Poconos.

Friday and Saturday, we skied at Vail. The mountain in overwhelming. There is no way to ski the whole thing in two days. Sunday, Dave stayed in Denver to finish up a school project, so I skied Keystone by myself. I tried to meet up with some of his friends, but failed somehow -- I was a bit late to the appointed meeting place. The neat thing about Sunday though was that I tried telemark skiing. I bought new boots just before going out, because my old boots were giving me such bad boot bang. Guess what, the new ones did the same thing. Although if I'd read the instruction manual that came with them I would have learned that there is a simple, simple way to have at least alleviated the situation if not completely eliminated it. My old boots had four rivets -- two on each side of the ankle -- eliminating the boots ability to pivot around an axis. The new boots have one rivet and one bolt on each side, giving the user the ability to either make the boot very stiff or, by removing the bolts, to make the boot a bit softer. Anyway, after two days of skiing very bumped up terrain, my shins were so torn up and swollen that there was no way they were going to give me a third day. I borrowed Dave's tele gear. Dave prepared me for the fact that I was going to spend a lot of time getting a very up close and personal look at the snow and that I was not going to have a good time. After the first two runs, I considered hanging up the gear and going to rent a snowboard. But being the sadist that I am, I persevered. And by the end of the day, I was dancing my way down the blues and almost enjoying the bumps.

Oh yeah, the title for this post. Dave and I were walking to his girlfriend's house when M and the beasties (may I borrow that, Phil?) called on the cell. I got to speak with all of them. When LuLu and I spoke, here's a piece of what transpired:
LuLu: Guess what, Daddy? I'm at home.
Me: I'm in Denver.
LuLu: I'm in my PJ's.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Too Much

This weekend, we were in the Disney store and LuLu picked up one of the plush dolls, and said, "I won dat. [translates: I want that.]" Then she gets her hand on the price tag, flips it over and says, "itz too muts." Maybe I'm using that excuse a little too often.

Later, we were walking out of the mall -- without having gotten her anything -- and she proclaims, "I won someting nice."

Monday, January 31, 2005


The next step in urban fashion?

11 days?

Man, does time fly. I can't believe it's been 11 days since my last post. Sorry for the slack. Updates on below:

Attention Update
I made an appointment with the doc who was vacationing when I entered the last post. It's next Tuesday. Look for a follow up. Also, I had a reader email me asking if I'd ever been checked for allergies. Apparently, he is similarly afflicted (and perhaps also a SAHD or considering the plunge) and his food allergy exacerbates the problem. The funny thing is that I'd never considered allergies to be a problem for me, but one time at Four's allergist (he's eggs, walnuts, dust, and dogs) the doc said that both M and I sound like we had allergy issues and suggested that we look into it. Am I sensing a pattern?

As for Four and his attention deficit, I contacted his peds doc and got some forms to fill out and give to his teachers to also fill out. Still waiting to get the teachers' forms, apparently they want to walk me through it. This is painfully slow.

Stomach Stuff Update
Part of the reason, I was not blogging was that the bug eventually got me too. Thursday morning, several hours after posting, I began to feel the stomach cramps signaling that I would soon be seeing the contents of my stomach. At the bug's peak, I could not move from the couch. Suffice to say, the kids probably got their month's quota of TV that day. But it was gone as soon as it came, and 24 hours later I was back. We were all very excited that our much revered bread-winner had escaped the bug unscathed. We even went to a neighborhood party over the weekend to watch the Eagles defeat the Falcons and earn their first Super Bowl berth in 24 long years. Tuesday morning came and M was now hit by the bug. It was crazy how slowly it moved through the house.

Hyperactive Update
Still continuing with the flying. It's awesome. Did 9 landings this weekend. I've not been riding as much as the flying definitely takes a lot of time for study. I definitely miss the exertion. My sister came over for dinner and just to hang last night. She was telling us about her roommate's dog, who is an Australian cattle dog, and if he doesn't get frequent exercise, he goes a little bonkers. After perusing this Australian cattle dog website, I feel like the human equivalent of this breed, particularly after reading "The Australian Cattle Dog is an EXTREMELY active breed, with mental stimulation being of paramount importance." I am glad to have begun flying which challenges me mentally, but am also so interested in so many other things also that my stack of books to read I constantly growing and never shrinking. [No, Philip, I've not made any more progress with Getting Things Done.]

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Brain Dump

Too much going on right now. Matters weren't helped at all when blogger seemed to be having some server problems earlier today. I knew I shouldn't have typed too much without copying it when I got a 404 error just trying to log-in. But, of course, I didn't save the thoughts and emotions that I was pouring out on the keyboard, no, that would have been way too smart.

So instead of the witty and insightful version, what will get captured here is the Reader's Digest version:

Some calls to folks in the hood and their contacts led to what seem to be some valuable resources for the attention deficit stuff that Four and I are going to explore. Following up with pediatrician, predicting that we'll contact this development peds doc. For me, a doc was recommended who is unfortunately out of town. Hoping the urge to get healthy lasts until her return.

Stomach Stuff
After a dinner out of Mexican food on Friday night, Four proceeded to empty the contents of his stomach into a succession of sheets. It was weird because he was fine for several hours after dinner and then it just hit him like a brick. Then he woke up 'fine' the next day. That night, no problems. Then Sunday night, a few vomiting episodes again. Monday morning, fine. Tuesday afternoon and evening we were treated to diarrhea. Seems fine again. Except now its LuLu. Around 11:30 she threw up. M and I worked together to calm, clean, and console her and her bed. M went back to sleep. I went to basement to put sheets and blankets and puppy (stuffed plush) in washer. No sooner than I got up the stairs, she vomits again. Wish me luck!

One night at dinner after saying grace and M.'s prayer for the Tsunami victims, Four says, "I have the great idea. [pauses for can only be effect] Let's have a garage sale. We can sell some of my toys, and send the money to the people in the 'earth shake'."

This time the term above does not refer to Four, but rather to me and the weekend I had. I was able to squeeze in nearly 80 miles on the road bike and two flying lessons. Yes, flying lessons. This has always been a dream of mine, and I have finally gotten together the motivation, and hopefully, stick-to-it-ive-ness to get it done. Here in the Mid-Atlantic the temps were frigid this weekend, and as I rode along many of the creeks and rivers that follow some of the great riding around here, I was reminded of the beauty of riding. This weekend it was the marked difference in the viscosity of the water flowing down these banks. The absolute or percentage difference I imagine is quite small, but the effect was striking. I likened the thicker, more slow flowing water to the functioning of my own mind lately.

Today I was backing out of the garage with both munchkins in the car. I don't know how or why but LuLu, not yet two, says "Watz out mGali tar" reminding me not to back into Magali's car which was parked directly behind the van.

I know there's more. I just can't find it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pile it on!

Adding to my feeling of ineffectiveness. I just stopped in at got twins?, the site done by a fellow stay-at-home-dad (or full-time father or whatever term happens to not piss off those easily offended by labels), fellow blogger, and apparently fellow road and mountain cyclist. The guy makes me look like a total slacker. He's got streaming video, a live webcam, AND TWINS! Ty, how do you do it?

There's also Philip of Blue Sloth who, though he's in the process of rebounding from a little slump, also deserves serious kudos for making me feel a bit blue and a bit like a sloth.

Maybe I need to start (and finish) the book my wife bought me, Getting Things Done.

Reaching Out

Lately, I feel completely ineffective as a parent, as a husband, as a human. I just feel like we're not working as a family. I mean we totally love each other and we're generally happy, but I feel like somehow I'm failing the kids. It just seems like we're so all over the place. Everything takes forever. I feel like we're losing control. The other day I picked Four up from pre-school, and his teacher says, "Dad, we have to talk." She didn't have time that day but we talked Monday morning after drop-off. Essentially, they are observing many of the behaviors that we are seeing at home. Previous to this we had been taking solace in the fact that while he could be a handful at home, at least he was doing well at school. So long, solace. After the discussion with the teacher, I began trolling the internet as any geek parent would do, and began to essentially reaffirm the amateur diagnosis we feared a couple of years ago, ADD/ADHD. A brother of mine was diagnosed years ago, we joke that my dad and I both have, and now it looks like in addition to my charming good looks, my son has inherited my lack of focus and my surplus of physical energy. While I've been pretty critical in the past of my ability to do this job, I am now even more seriously considering how positive a situation it is to have a likely ADD/ADHD boy staying home with an almost definitely ADD stay-at-home-dad. So, not wanting to give up my current position, at least not full-time, I am planning to get more serious about seeking some behavior modification, therapy, medication, etc. for myself(previous attempts have petered out due lack of stick-to-it-iveness) as well as for Four.

Getting back to Four, if it was just the excess energy I think we could tolerate that, in fact in this society where increasingly hear of the problems of obesity and the numbers of overweight toddlers and pre-schoolers, I actually don't mind the energy level. As I write this, I am beginning to wonder if our increasingly sedentary, prim and proper expectations for youth and schools is not doing a disservice to kids like Four and kids who don't get off their keisters enough. I digress. With Four, its the lack of self control -- grabbing toys from others with out asking, not doing as told, losing focus when doing simple tasks, and the inability to sit still. Even after begging to watch something on the tube, when I finally give in, often just visits the TV in between periods of being a nudge to his sister and playing with toys and jumping on the furniture (despite repeated reprimands and time-outs for the very same action).

I found a website that has an article and checklist for ADHD. As I read it, I couldn't help but think that they had my son pegged. At first, I was very upset and scared about the possibility of such a diagnosis. Now, I almost feel relieved. I feel that since I now know what I'm dealing with, I can better find the skills and tools to help us all cope with it better, and, in the end, help this little boy to become a happy, well-adjusted person who will be loving and well-loved.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

More of Funny Things They Say

The other night, I went in to LuLu's room because she was crying. As soon as I opened the door, she felt the need to tell me, "I pying [translated: I'm crying]." It was adorable.

Now I don't remember where we were going, but I had forgotten (or neglected) to put on my seat. LuLu reminds me from the backseat, "Daddy belt on." M and I were floored. I asked rhetorically, in fact more to M, "How old are you?" She thrusts forth her pointer and declares, "I one."

While typing the above I was reminded of something Four said this summer. We were driving my parent's mini-van (a Dodge Grand Caravan) around. We had swapped cars prior to our trip to Ohio. One day, we pulled next to a regular Caravan, not the Grand Caravan. Four says, "Why is that van shorter?" I know some adults who wouldn't notice the difference.

Photo Updates

Just getting around to getting all my digital photos for the past month or so uploaded. If you're friends or family, enjoy. If not, well, you might enjoy some of the pics too. Be well, I'm trying my best to do the same. More on that later.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

"Mommy and Me" Special

Its raining here today. So, I took the kids to one of these indoor playgrounds. As I walked in I noticed a large sign announcing the "Mommy and Me" special -- essentially $2 per kid from 10 AM to 2 PM. Being the cheap bastard that I am, I smilingly paid my four dollars so the little ones could play. But it still pisses me off that our society just isn't ready to accept stay-at-home dads. What's worse, I counted no less than five other fathers there. Still a minority, but we're growing.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Happy New Year!

Admittedly late, but Happy New Year! May you have a safe, joyous, and fulfilling New Year. New Year's isn't my thing in terms of the partying and what not, and I have mixed feelings about the whole new leaf thing. New Year's Day is really just another day, and typically resolutions and such do not stick real well. In fact, this year I've just foregone the whole resolution thing. Don't get me wrong, in the larger scheme of things if we give up on resolutions, introspection, and self-improvement, then we're in real trouble. I personally don't have the energy to do it right now.

Lately, I have been struggling with many of the issues Philip of Blue Sloth writes about in "The Wall." I have been trying to find that special thing inside of me that I can contribute. When describing this to M, she responded "Those two children?" And yes, absolutely, the care and nurturing I give them and how it impacts their health and happiness and the people they become is absolutely a great gift and contribution. But I want to contribute something else. Something that is all mine. Something that is beautiful and benevolent. And mine. My art. Or my words. Or my ideas.

Raising the Next Generation of SAHDs

After putting on his camoflage pajamas, Four went up to M who was changing LuLu, and began to profess to her his career aspirations:
Four: I want to be a policeman, a race car driver, and a stay-at-home dad on Fridays when I grow up.
"Can I do that?"
M: "Yes, I think you could do all of that."

Why just Fridays? Although come to think of it, its not a bad idea.